Although it’s something many of us would prefer not to think about, growing concerns over what happens to our data footprint after we die is an issue that everyone needs to start facing immediately now that more and more of our personal information is being digitized and shared over the internet on a daily basis.
What first comes to mind of most people when discussing such a morbid, yet important, topic is what exactly should happen to all those photos you share or e-mails you send out to friends and family; but for many in business for themselves, or more specifically, working in the real estate industry, one of the most popular e-mail providers today’s agents are using is Gmail—not a company or brokerage-given e-mail account. In other words, should something happen to you and you’re using Gmail, your company or real estate brokerage won’t be there to simply shut off your account and eliminate the threat of someone seeing sensitive information or important financial documents you and your clients have exchanged in order to secure a home or apartment for rent.
However, understanding this risk and rapidly growing concern among internet users, Google has now launched a new death tool that specifically deals with what happens to your data after you die. The new feature— now being called Inactive Account Manager— allows Google users to determine what should happen to their data should their account be inactive for whatever reason, which of course includes death.
So how does it work? It’s actually much easier than you may think. All you need to do is login to your Google account, go to your Account Settings page, and choose how much time of inactivity needs to pass before Google will automatically delete your data. Whether it is three months, six months, or even a year, choose what you think is appropriate and after that much time has elapsed without any activity to your account, your data will then be completely erased.
In addition, should you not be entirely comfortable having your data wiped clean, the Inactive Account Manager will alternatively let you choose to have all your data sent to other trusted contacts that you personally select. Inactive Account Manage can be applied to the following services: +1s, Blogger, Contacts and Circles, Drive, Gmail, Google+, Google Pages and Streams, Picasa Web Albums, Google Voice, and YouTube.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and also holds a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working as a Market Research Associate and writing published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence in Chicago, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and is a managing partner at Real Estate Web Creation, LLC.